Hélène Devynck returns to the PPDA affair in her book Impunity

Hélène Devynck, who accused the host Patrick Poivre d’Arvor of rape, published her book Impunity Seuil editions. STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

In her book published by Editions du Seuil, the journalist immerses the reader in the sexual violence that she and other women say they suffered from the former TF1 news host. He was the guest of “La Grande Librairie” on September 21.

His face is one of the supposed victims of Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, on the front page of release was released in November. Supported by 8 other women, including Cécile Delarue, Muriel Reus and Aude Darlet, Hélène Devynck then testified, with her face uncovered, of the rape she allegedly suffered in 1993 to the star host of the TF1 newscast . “I remember a physical immobility and a panic of thoughts, mentally searching with all my strength for a solution to get out of there, without finding it”, he remembers daily newspaper.

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A year ago, the reporter told his side of the story in a book called Impunity, which will be published on September 23 by Editions du Seuil, where he immerses the reader in a chilling story, as well as other alleged victims of PPDA (23 women in total). A punchy book where he also points out the whole misogynistic and discriminatory system specific to TF1.

“Sisters of Misfortune”

“The whole of France knows his name and his face, but not ours”, he declared, this Wednesday, September 21, facing Augustin Trapenard in the program “La Grande Librairie” of France 5. Hélène Devynck accused the PPDA of raping her at home when she was only 24 years old. If he has been silent for almost twenty-eight years, the former editor of JT will end his silence in 2021, after the partnership exploded with the first testimony of Florence Porcel. Twenty-one women follow. A first investigation will be closed without further action in June 2021. “We have the impression that we were thrown in the trash, as if we did not speak, as if we did nothing”, he explained.

If I hadn’t worked at TF1, I wouldn’t have been raped

Helen Devynck

Beyond the pages that make up his book ImpunityHélène Devynck returns to the PPDA affair, retraces all these women’s stories, these actions modus operandi still very similar. Moreover, it attacked, behind the scenes, the television channel that allowed this downgrade with impunity. Facing Augustin Trapenard, he explained frankly: “If I hadn’t worked at TF1, I wouldn’t have been raped. I am not protected”. Hélène Devynck criticizes the culture of silence full of sexism, expressed “in the air and in writing”. “Harassment is not named, we are talking about flirting (…) I have the impression of doing a giant slalom every time to avoid such and such a person”, continued the journalist of “La Grande Bookseller”.

During his visit to France Inter, this Thursday, September 22, the journalist particularly returned to the “coup du plateau”, a well-known tactic of the victims of Patrick Poivre d’Arvor. “He invited a young woman to the newspaper, he explained to Léa Salamé’s microphone. He placed her in front of her on the set, then took her to his office and jumped her. A tactic carried out “several times a week for 35 years”, said all the women who listened to the PPDA event.

The threat of defamation

The author also evokes the “threat of defamation that hangs over each of his words”. “I cannot prove that Patrick Poivre d’Arvor raped me. I just can’t do it. The facts are prescribed. They will no longer be judged,” he wrote in Impunity. But since his speech, Hélène Devynck says that he collapsed under the criticism of his detractors and ardent defenders of the host. “I was told that I did it to shine, that I was a scatterbrain, a ‘starfuckeuse'”, she explained, evoking this “cultural impregnation that makes us wary of women who speak”. A “quasi-automatic” reflex.

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However, Impunity remains a choral, collective work, filled with brotherhood. A literary work addressed to these “sisters of misfortune”, with the aim that “it will serve”, and unite. Hélène Devynck also recounts this day in the year 2021, where she and the 22 other women who accused Patrick Poivre d’Arvor finally met at a dinner. “For the first time, he said, we felt safe”.

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